The IRS 990 Business Master File, often referred to as the "BMF," is a database maintained by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It contains information about tax-exempt organizations and other entities that are required to file various forms of the IRS Form 990 series. These organizations include:

  1. All 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, foundations, religious entities.
  2. Social welfare organizations, civic leagues, and associations with status 501c4.
  3. Business leagues and associations: Such as chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other organizations eligible for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(6).
  4. Social clubs: Organizations that meet the criteria for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  5. Political organizations including entities that are tax-exempt under section 527, which includes political action committees (PACs).

The IRS 990 Business Master File contains key information about these organizations, including their legal names, addresses, EINs (Employer Identification Numbers), filing statuses, and the forms they have filed. This database helps the IRS and the public track and monitor the activities of tax-exempt organizations and ensures that they comply with the tax laws and regulations applicable to their specific tax-exempt status.

The BMF is the defacto sampling framework for many studies involving nonprofits as it contains the universe of all organizations that have been granted recognized tax exempt status by the IRS, remain active, and have filed required IRS 990 forms to remain in compliance with requirements about disclosure of activities and governance. The BMF does NOT include, however:

  • Organizations that are legal organizations incorporated and operating as nonprofits at the state level but have opted to not apply for formal tax-exempt status from the IRS.
  • Some special categories of nonprofits such as churches and religious groups that are not required to seek formal recognition to exercise their tax-exempt status.
  • Informal civic groups or social movements that are unincorporated, including organizations that are allowed to exercise nonprofit status through a fiscal sponsorship program under parent nonprofit.
  • Some exceptional cases like 501(c)(4) organizations that opt to self-declare their intent to operate using Form 8976 instead of the typical application process with the IRS. They must file 990's to remain compliant, but since the IRS never formally rules on their status they do not appear in the BMF.

Researchers, government agencies, journalists, and the general public often use the IRS 990 Business Master File to access information about nonprofit organizations, assess their financial health, and evaluate their compliance with tax regulations. The data in this file can provide valuable insights into the operations and finances of these entities. It's worth noting that while certain information from Form 990 filings is publicly available and can be accessed through the IRS website or other sources, sensitive information like donor names and addresses is typically redacted to protect privacy.

EIN Employer identification number
SEC_NAME Secondary organization name
FRCD Filing requirements code. The 1st 2 characters indicate the requirements for 990/990-EZ forms. The 3rd character = 1 if a 990-PF is required or 0 if not.
SUBSECCD IRS subsection code (03=501(c)(3), etc.)
TAXPER Ending date for tax period of financial data. Core files for 1997 on are in "yyyymm" format (199412=Dec. 1994). Earlier years use 2-digit year ("9412").
ASSETS Total assets (end of year) from most recent Form 990
INCOME Gross receipts from most recently filed Form 990
NAME Organization name
ZIP5 First 5 digits of zip code
RULEDATE Ruling date: year and month of IRS ruling or determination letter recognizing orgs exempt status (YYYYMM)
FIPS 2-digit State + 3-digit County FIPS code (Federal Information Processing Standard). See also U.S. Census Bureau State & County QuickFacts.
FNDNCD Reason for & type of 501(c)(3) exempt status including codes for operating and grantmaking foundations, and broad type of public charity
PMSA Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area
MSA_NECH Metropolitan Statistical Area (NCCS file)
CASSETS Total Assets (Book Value at end of year) from most recent Form 990 (Part IV, line 59(B) on Form 990; Part II, line 25(B) on Form 990-EZ; or Part II, line 16(b) on Form 990-PF)
CFINSRC Source of financial data added by NCCS (primarily the most recent Form 990 filing as of BMF date from NCCS Core files)
CTAXPER Ending date for tax period of NCCS financial data in yyyymm format
CTOTREV Total Revenue from most recent Form 990 (Part I, line 12 on Form 990; Part I, line 9 on Form 990-EZ; or Part I, line 12(a) on Form 990-PF)
ACCPER Accounting period
RANDNUM Random number between 0 and 1 used for creating samples
NTEECC NTEECC classification
NTEE1 NTEE major group (A-Z)
LEVEL4 NTEE-CC Major Group
LEVEL1 Public charity or private foundation?
NTMAJ10 10 NTEE major groups
MAJGRPB Major NTEE group plus hospitals and higher education
LEVEL3 Major NTEE category
LEVEL2 Reporting public charity groups
NTMAJ12 12 NTEE major groups: ntmaj10 plus higher education (BH) and hospitals (EH)
NTMAJ5 Major subsector (5)
FILER Filed 990 return (Form 990, Form 990-EZ, Form 990-PF, or Form 990-N) within 24 months of BMF file? (Y/N)
ZFILER Filed 990 return with zero income and assets within 24 months of BMF file? (Y/N) - Beginning 2008, over 95% of 'zero filers' (ZFiler=Y) filed Form 990-N (e-Postcard) for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2007.
OUTREAS Reason why out of scope
OUTNCCS Out-of-scope (IN/OUT) (see OUTREAS doc. for details)
More Datasets

527 Political Action Committees

Electronic filings made by 527 organizations.

elections campaign finance 501c4

SOI Exempt Organizations Microdata

The statistics of nonprofit charitable and other tax-exempt organizations produced by the Statistics of Income (SOI) Division.

990 SOI sampling 990